The sport of cricket has seen a lot of drama unfolding on the field with some occasional incidents going out of hand. And, throughout the history of the game, the Australian grounds have been the hotspots of such mishaps happening. They have seen it all, physical assaults, slurs from the crowds and streakers running on to the field.
Here’s a list of 5 such incidents where the Australian crowds got rowdy:
5. Streaker runs on to the field (Brisbane, 2008)
Fans running on to the field is not a new thing in cricket, in fact, there have been a lot of instances where people from among the spectators have run on to the field to meet their favourite players, and potentially get a moment of fame on national television. The normal procedure of handling such people is to get them out of the ground as soon as possible, but things get out of hand when these fans run on to the field without any clothes.
An incident of a streaker running on to the field happened in a One Day International game between India and Australia in Brisbane in the year 2008, where a fan ran on to the field without a speck of clothing on his clothes. The fan somehow managed to breach the security and ran across the field towards Andre Symonds, who was standing at the non-striker’s end.
But, little did he know that Symonds had a treat in store for him. As the naked spectator charged towards Symonds, the tall cricketer, who is trained in rugby, tacked him and as hell fell straight on to the ground before being caught by the security personnel and scouted out of the venue.
4. Fans wrestle with John Snow close to the boundary rope (Sydney, 1971)
Cricket fans have been known to be a passionate group of people but at the same time, they have been appreciated for upholding the spirit of the gentleman’s game by having fun with the players but not crossing the boundary.
But, one such incident in Sydney in the year 1971, a group of rowdy crowd members literally crossed the line when they physically assaulted John Snow during a Test match on the cricket field. It all started with the English pacer, Snow bowled a bouncer and the delivery hit the Australian batsman Terry Jenner on the field. This forced him to walk out of the field, retired hurt.
This must-have enraged a lot of fans, but it seemed to have blown the minds of a group of drunk spectators who grabbed Snow as soon as he went to his fielding position after finishing his over, close to the boundary rope. A physical fight sparked up between the players and Snow, as their captain Ray Illingworth led his team off the field, posing a suspension threat to the game. After that incident, a total of 190 people were removed from the ground and 14 fans were arrested for offensive behaviour.
3. Crowd sparks a riot during a match (Sydney, 1879)
Before the previously listed incident, there had also been an incident, where one of the earliest instances of a recorded civil disorder during a cricket match took place on the 8th of February during a Test match between the New South Wales and a touring England cricket team. The thing that sparked this riotous situation was an umpiring decision which did not go down well.
George Coulthard the umpire in focus, a Victorian who had been appointed by Englishmen as he gave the Australian batsman, Billy Murdoch out. While it may seem what could have gone wrong with regards to an unpopular umpiring decision, but what transpired on the field that day, changed a lot of things and put the sport in a really bad light.
After the umpiring decision was made, a group of a total of 2,000 spectators ran on to the field and manhandled the umpire and a couple of England cricket players. There are many conspiracy theories floating around regarding the incident being started by some illegal gamblers who had placed bets and the decision had affected them and they incited the crowd, while some people have attributed this angry outbreak to the anticolonial rivalry that existed at that time.
2. Greg Chappell deals with a streaker on the field (Melbourne, 1979)
Alongside his famous incident with a streaker at the Lord’s cricket ground, there was another instance this time in his home ground, the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, where a streaker’s private parts were covered by Chappell with his bat, as he stormed on the field and ran towards the legendary cricket player. Previously he had beaten up the intruder but this time he decided to do the noble act.
It was during Australia’s One Day International game against a touring West Indies team, the Australian team was batting when this incident happened and one of the most iconic pictures of cricket was taken. The streaker was stark naked and it was not a pleasant sight to be seen during a cricket match.
When the streaker got close to Chappell, he decided to cover the vitals of the intruder’s body and held him by his hand before the officials took the person off the field. This incident was captured by the camera person on the field and as stated earlier, one of the most popular cricketing pictures was taken.
1. Fans hurl racist abuses on Indian cricket player, Mohammed Siraj (Sydney, 2021)
The Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) was in the talks again recently, again for an unpopular reason when the fans sitting in the stands, in the midst of the Test match, started hurling abuses on the Indian pacer, Mohammwd Siraj, to the extent, where the player stopped the play and complained about that incident to the match officials.
It all happened during the 87th over of the Australian Cricket team’s 2nd innings of the match, when Siraj was fielding close to the boundary rope as a group of spectators started hurling racist abuses on Siraj. When Siraj, backed by his captain Ajinkya Rahane spoke to the officials, the group of spectators were asked to leave from the ground immediately.
This incident sparked a series of reactions from all over the world, as players, cricket associations, administrative bodies including the International Cricket Council, and the fans stepped in to condemn the act, while voicing their opinions on various platforms, including their social media handles.